WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Texas Senate Republicans released the text of Senate Bill 1, the new voter suppression bill the body will consider during the state’s special session that began the same day. This is the second suppression bill that will be considered during this session. House Republicans released their draft of a voter suppression bill on Wednesday. The two bills are a second attempt by Republicans in Texas to enact new voter suppression legislation after Democrats successfully blocked the passage of omnibus bill Senate Bill 7 in May.
The Senate bill includes many provisions from both S.B. 7 and the new House bill. These include allowing clerks to report the registrations of suspected ineligible voters to the state Attorney General, banning drive-thru and accessible outdoor voting, banning 24-hour voting, removing straight-ticket voting options from ballots, preventing clerks and voting rights groups from sending out mail ballot applications unless explicitly requested, new signature matching requirements and more.
The special session lasts 30 days, and the agenda includes a host of Republican priorities such as abortion restrictions and banning critical race theory from classrooms. However, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted that passing S.B. 1 and sending voter suppression legislation to the governor’s desk will be the Republicans’ top priority as the session gets underway.